tv Morning Joe MSNBC September 13, 2012 3:00am-6:00am PDT
eric writes i'm trying to finalize a deal to bring vanderbilt to the acc. >> i heard rumors about that. notre dame vanderbilt is happy in the s.e.c. frankly the a.c.c. is beneath else. what else, tower? >> willie chandler who writes my name is willie and i don't see the name often. >> thanks for the e-mail. is he an i.e.? >> he is. >> there's a brotherhood of i.e. i don't trust those willys with a "y." "morning joe" starts right now. >> the president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also from the words that come from his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his state department. they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement that came from the administration and the embassy is the administration. the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and i
think was a severe miscalculation. >> as for the ones we lost last night, i want to assure you we will bring their killers to justice. and we want to send a message all around the world to anybody who would do us harm, no acts of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the united states of america. >> good morning. it is thursday, september 13th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, john heilman, richard haass. and in washington, nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports," andrea mitchell. >> we have so much to talk about this morning. of course breaking news overnight. >> yeah. >> we, of course, have been focused on libya.
yesterday we were focused on the political scrap that was taking place while we had chaotic situations across the globe. >> i'd say it was more than a scrap. >> i think it was a terrible moment, maybe a defining moment in the campaign, of course what's going on in egypt right now. is equally troubling. and i suspect that when the streets clear, perhaps the most troubling aftereffect of this will be what has not been said by the muslim brotherhood or the leaders of egypt. this morning we'll have to get to that later because this morning more breaking news. now out of yemen. >> yep. witnesses say hundreds of demonstrators have stormed the u.s. embassy in the capital of sana'a. the a.p. reports protesters breached the security corridor around the embassy grounds but have not entered the building housing diplomatic offices. officials with yemen's government says no one was killed. the assault on the u.s. embassy in yemen comes just one day after four americans were killed at the u.s. consulate in libya and a mob of demonstrators stormed the u.s. embassy in cairo. meanwhile, the u.s. is moving two warships into position near
libya and have dispatched an elite group of 50 marines to help guard the mbembassy in tripoli. the obama administration is trying to determine if the deadly attack against the u.s. consulate in benghazi was a planned terror strike or a spontaneous backlash from the anti-islamic video posted on youtube. four americans were killed in the attack including 52-year-old ambassador chris stevens, widely regarded as one of the most popular and successful american envoys in the region. according to first reports from senior administration officials, the american consulate came under small-arms fire around 10:00 p.m. local time. a short time later, the outside walls of the lightly guarded compound were breached. gunmen began attacking the main building, setting it on fire. at this point three people remained inside the main consulate. ambassador stevens, another staff member named sean smith and a security officer. amid the chaos and heavy smoke, the three became separated.
ambassador stevens was missing for 12 hours before his body was located on wednesday morning in a benghazi hospital. apparently transported there by libyan police. >> let's try to put this in perspective right now. a lot of people look at these images, if they're my age, if they're your age, and they go, this looks like a lot like 1979. this looks a lot like what happened when the so-called students took over the embassy in tehran. but in this case, you've got the libyan government immediately condemning what's been going on. the muslim brotherhood is not involved in this even though at this moment it doesn't seem like they're involved, although no condemnations. no condemnations by the egyptian government. that's troubling. who exactly are storming these embassies, and should americans be careful before they blame the libyan government, the egyptian government, the yemen government for these mob scenes? >> you're right. 1979 in tehran was clearly the
state was behind it. and that was a strong state under the eye toll e ayatollah i khomeini. it doesn't really have capabilities. so you might have terrorists, cells of al qaeda, some kind of offshoot. you simply have mobs or crowds where there's no boundary between politics and religion where americanism is being acted out. and in all cases again you don't have governments that are either willing or able to take them on. in egypt, the muslim brotherhood is almost caught in between being an outside organization but also being the government. and it's not clear whether they've made the transition. >> the muslim brotherhood, again, as far as you know, have absolutely nothing to do with these attacks, correct? >> as far as i know, but on the other hand, it's a wide, diverse organization. we just don't know. >> but also, again, washington right now is very concerned. the state department very concerned. the administration very concerned. most foreign policy thinkers
very concerned that right now several days into the attack, the muslim brotherhood and morsi specifically in egypt have not condemned these attacks. >> first, the attacks were allowed to get to a certain place in egypt. so the fact is how did the mob get so far to the embassy. that's disconcerting under international law, we expect the host government to provide full protection. the marines are there, if you will, more to supplement. but the basic protection for any american embassy or consulate has to be provided by the host country. that is their obligation to us. if they can't provide that security, we have no reason to be there. >> how telling is it that president obama who in 2009 went and gave a speech in cairo, and that was sort of a defining moment early on 2in his presidency on foreign policy issues declared and our government declared that egypt is not an enemy, but it's not an al ally. >> this is a new middle east. we all grew up in a middle east
where you had these strong men, the hosni mubaraks. >> should they have made that statement? should the president have made that -- i know mitt romney and everybody else is saying, you know, attack, slash, burn. should we have made a statement this early that the egyptians are, quote, not our ally? >> well, the answer is they're both. the egyptians -- it's a relationship that's yet to be redefined under the new leadership. >> right. >> what i think we want to say is you've got to prove this. we ought to have conditional relationships. we ought not to have automatic relationships with their friends where we look the other way, increasing our relationships in the middle east need to be conditional on their behavior. we don't have now a history, a pattern. >> do we give egyptians $1.3 billion next year? >> only if certain conditions are met. we look at the way they treat minorities, the 10 million c coptic christians, whether they honor their treaty, the way they
combat terrorism, what they do politically, whether they are moving in a democratic direction. we incentivize and reward behaviors we think are right and penalize or sanction behaviors that we think are wrong. >> what's the impact of the united states comes out and tells anybody if you get close to our embassy grounds, if you get close to the walls, we're going to shoot you, kill you, if you come into sovereign territory, you will die? >> at the end of the day, joe, a dozen or two or three dozen marines cannot take on thousands and thousands of people. again, i come back to the host government as one other issue. embassies have to be open for business. we do diplomacy, commercial relations. we can't turn our embassies into forts. so either we are able to conduct normal business and have our embassies be open, or we really don't have business being there. >> let's go back to the conversation about characterizing the relationship with egypt. here is president obama. this is an interview with telemundo discussing that. take a look. >> would you consider the current egyptian regime an ally
of the united states? >> i don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. they are a new government that is trying to find its way. they were democratically elected. i think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident, how they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty with israel. >> andrea mitchell, there are a lot of people in the united states and certainly a lot of our allies in the middle east who a year ago were very concerned about the fact that we had thrown an ally, hosni mubarak, overboard after 30 years of helping keep the peace in the middle east, despite bad behavior internally at home. and mika and i certainly heard from our friends, from ambassadors, from elected leaders across the middle east warning us in realtime, you don't know what follows. you get rid of mubarak, you don't know what that void is going to cause.
zmoo exact >> exactly. >> you americans are fools. a year later, i guarantee you we're going to be getting the same e-mails and the same phone calls from leaders throughout the middle east telling us the same thing, telling us, see, we told you so. >> well, i thought it was very interesting that the president told the telemundo interviewer, the entire interview, i understand, will air tonight on their main evening newscast, and it was a very interesting interview in that he said -- the question was asked, are they an ally? and he said they're not an ally. they're not an enemy. he is saying what richard haass just defined. it is a case-by-case situation. he did talk to president morsi last night. president morsi promised that he would guarantee the safety of our embassy, but it's very clear that they were slow to react. richard engel was saying that initially there was no response by the egyptian police, and they permitted that riot to take place and to get out of control. and fortunately, it didn't
result in anyone dying. but to your earlier question, as richard was saying, you've got a dozen or two dozen marines in any of these embassies. they're not going to be able to hold off this kind of mob. it does seem, from all the reporting, and the intelligence is still very imprecise, that these were different types of incidents. that one in cairo was a mob. then in libya, whether prip t e precipitated by the movie or the opportunity they took, there was a more organized attack, but they are not yet ready to say that it was a terror attack connected to al qaeda. they're just not sure. >> okay. so amidst all this, we have a presidential election under way. and 15 minutes before president obama was to make a statement in the rose garden, mitt romney held a news conference in jacksonville. and he doubled down on his criticism from the night before, attacking the president's handling of the situation overseas. romney blasted the administration over a statement released by the u.s. embassy in
cairo which condemned religious intolerance. the embassy statement was released hours before the compound was raided in an effort to ease building tension over that anti-islamic video. but mitt romney accused the administration of apologizing for american principles of free speech. >> i also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in egypt instead of condemning their actions. it's never too early for the united states government to condemn attacks on americans and to defend our values. i think it's a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values. that instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the united states
must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. >> i have observed that there's a tendency to shoot before you aim, as i pointed out, and that as president, my obligation is to focus on security for our people, making sure that we gather all the facts, making sure that we're advancing american interests. and not having ideological arguments on a day when we are mourning the loss of outstanding folks who have served our country very well. >> and there is the key. >> right. >> on the day that we're mourning the first murder overseas ambassador since 1979, an awful lot of republicans i spoke to yesterday in the house, in the senate, in foreign policy circles were e-mailing me, calling me, party leaders saying, why couldn't he avoid it a day, two days, five days?
they thought it was extraordina extraordinarily hand-fisted, and these people have no love for barack obama. we're saying this is a terrible thing to do if you want republicans to win. just horribly tactically. >> even in the heat of the moment romney was getting blasted, the question is a day later, is it a flap or a pivotal moment of the campaign? >> unfortunately he got the chronology wrong. he's talking about tweets. it was unbecoming of a man who wants to be commander in chief. tom ridge, former homeland secretary, said this. "i don't think president obama sympathizes with those who attacked us. i don't think any american does." mark salter wrote, "this is hardly the issue or the moment to demonstrate a greater resolve to take the fight to the president. four good americans brave and true just died in service to their country. they were killed because some of the libyans who fought a civil war for freedom pretended
freedom was their cause do not approve or understand freedom's values. nothing said or done by the president or anyone in the u.s. government is responsible to the violence." john sununu said the camp probably should have -- the romney camp should have waited. peter king said the same thing. and let's listen. here's our dear friend peggy noonan. she was on fox news yesterday. and this is what peggy had to say. >> i don't feel that mr. romney has been doing himself any favors, say, in the past few hours, perhaps since last night. sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go. >> okay. >> you know, "the washington post" also weighed in in a piece titled "mr. romney's rhetoric on embassy attacks discredits his campaign," and they called his approach stunning. i must say, as somebody that was very disappointed in how
democrats responded at times during the bush administration, somebody that called them out for doing that, making political attacks at the worst possible times for our troops, i just was absolutely flabbergasted that mitt romney would do what he did yesterday. after he even had the information that his initial statement was wrong. >> there's so many things about this to say. you know, look. we have, you know, people have compared this already to the lehman brothers moment from four years ago. >> it is. it is in that realm. >> john mccain had a rolling four days of stupidity then from the fundamentals of the economy are strong through to suspending his campaign. it demonstrated over the course of about a week that he was temperamentally to a lot of
voters in that moment. this is more limited than that, and i don't know that it's going to have the same effect. but these are moments that test the character and temperament of candidates and people aspiring for this office. i think, you everything else you've said that i agree with, it just was a deeply unserious response to this moment. both in terms of the timing, in terms of getting the chronology wrong, all of those things, you know, they're -- >> you know what else it was? it was desperate. >> yes. >> it was a desperate political tactic at a time that a u.s. ambassador was dead. >> yes, there's four americans dead and, you know, mitt romney has profound differences with barack obama on foreign policies. those should be litigated over the course of the campaign. >> and even litigate this a week from now. >> but not litigated in a deeply dishonest and unserious way within -- when those bodies are not yet cold. a lot of what americans are looking for in a president is someone who is judicious and
exercising the right kind of temperament and not trying to score cheap political points on the basis of a lie, which was by the time -- you could argue they made a mistake with the first statement. to come back 12 hours later when you knew what the chronology was -- >> and you knew a u.s. ambassador was dead. >> -- was dead and three other americans is as i said deeply unserious. and you had president obama in this interview with telemundo. he makes the point where he says something like, look, these are people on the ground who put this statement out. people on the ground trying to cool down a situation that might have and did escalate into violence. >> and that's a point i was going to make to you, as the mobs were growing outside the embassy, because of this crude, amateurish video, somebody in the the embassy decided, you know what? we're going to try to keep people inside the embassy safe, and we're going to release a statement condemning what this
jackass in florida put out, this hatemonger in florida. it seems like a logical thing to do. for mitt romney to try to attach a statement made to try to calm crowds while the people inside the embassy's lives were on the line and then tried to attach that to the white house, and then 12 hours later come out with a press conference, it's mind boggling to me, mind boggling. >> the u.s. embassy in cairo sent out a tweet that said "of course we condemn the breaches of our compound. we're the ones actually living through this." that was the quote. you know, there are a lot of people, including republicans, if you talk to them privately and some in public who agree with the message of what mitt romney said, which is that more broadly, not at that moment, more broadly that you shouldn't be sympathizing with people who are reacting this way and committing violence based on a video no one's seen on youtube. that's a separate point. the point is -- >> they weren't sympathizing
with those people, though. >> who wasn't? >> the people inside the embassy weren't sympathizing. there was a statement of religious tolerance and damn it, we stand for that in america. and if somebody wants to put that out because they think it might keep americans safe inside that embassy, who the hell has a problem with that? i'm sorry, i didn't mean to interrupt. >> then it appeared yesterday like mitt romney had walked out on that ledge, and he couldn't -- he didn't want to come back. he didn't want to appear weak by saying i screwed up. i'm going to come back on it, so now he's doubled down on it. >> let's say that statement was consistent with statements that were the stated policy of the bush administration in terms of how to deal with these issues. but here's the thing that obama made the point. >> which by the way bush said things like that all the time. >> all the time. >> he said it after september 11th! >> but here's the point. >> this could have been george w. bush talking on september 12th, 2001. >> but here's the point also
about why this is such a bad day for mitt romney. because obama's point last night in this interview was to say, you know, in a situation like this, i tend to defer to people who are on the ground. you know, i'm going to cut these people some slack, and i'm not going to take pot shots at them from behind a campaign -- behind a campaign desk. let me just finish my point. >> we need to go to andrea mitchell in washington. andrea. >> well, just to your point, these kinds of statements are always put out. now, it may not have been as artful, but the point that the president was making, you know, cut them some slack, and what mitt romney could have done yesterday was say, now that we know that american lives have been lost, or put out a statement, that we're going to suspend campaigning. we're going to be quiet. we're just not going to talk about it. but he doubled down on it. people criticized the president for not taking questions in the rose garden when he made his statement with hillary clinton at his side. what president of the united states takes questions at a
moment like that? none have. >> yeah. >> there's almost an understandable protocol to this. >> andrea, how would you then characterize what happened? you've covered foreign policy and you've covered politics for years. is this a campaign, after so many years of trying to be elected president, five, at least, is this campaign completely immature? what's wrong with them? >> you know, the strange thing is, i actually think that joe using the word "desperate," it seemed to be almost a response to the fact that lawyer are ingram, rush limbaugh and others the day before had really been criticizing him, the weekly standard for not being tough enough. and so someone said and i think the political people and some of the foreign policy people surrounding him came together with this, and he signed off on it. and it showed such bad judgment. i was here at 10:00 that night, the night before last, when we were trying to sort through, where was the body? who was this man? the state department. it just was the wrong time to
even come out with the initial statement. >> your gut instinct when you heard that statement right away, richard. >> colin powell used to always say, first reports from the battlefield are never correct and never complete. one of the things we learned was always to hold back, see what happens. the other is, people always say this campaign's about anything but foreign policy. what we learned yesterday is how events can intrude. the candidates cannot control the agenda or the context. this is a reminder that american politics don't take place in this domestic vacuum. they take place in a world that's extraordinarily turbulent. >> what would you have told him to do? >> you always wait. you wait until the report's complete. it's very hard also to distinguish between criticizing the president as a candidate and criticizing the president as commander in chief. very, very difficult needle to thread. by and large you let these things play out. you listen to people on the ground. first reports, again, are never accurate, are never complete. you see how it plays out. also one other thing. this is hard. foreign policy is hard. figuring out what it is we want to do in the middle east in this
situation where the president said we don't have friends or foes or something in between. this is about as tough as foreign policy-making gets. i think it's very hard -- it's easy to criticize the administration. in cases they deserve to be criticized. it's also very tough right now to come up with a consistent strategic alternative. this is tough stuff. k0coming up, we'll talk to john mccain, dr. zbigniew brzezinski, michael bloomberg and david ignatius. up next, "the political playbook." you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. ♪ [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪
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"the chb tricago tribune," day of the teachers union. another story where romney inserted himself. rahm emanuel says there's no reason students can't return to classrooms while reps work out their issues. they've submitted a new proposal as faculty members attended rallies all day. >> good. i'm glad they did rallies instead of teaching chicago's immediatiest students. great job, teachers. we're proud of you. and i know you're proud of yourself and your union membership that continues to destroy. >> next paper, please. >> your organization's reputation in chicago and across america. this is such a misflight. "usa today," after months of speculation, apple unveiled the iphone 5 yesterday. the new version is thinner. 20% wider. has a larger screen than the 4s. >> 4,000 pieces. >> it also has a new chip and a new back that's made mostly of
metal instead of glass to prevent cracks and to prevent mika from constantly complaining about her iphone. >> i think it's silly to pay $600 for something that breaks. >> it's less filling. the hand set also has a new connection port meaning all connection cables will be obsolete and you'll have to go to your apple store and buy lots of new chargers. i love this story, "the los angeles times," they're getting ready for a law enforcement, i'm sure. mcdonald's will post calorie information on its menu boards on drive-throughs in the u.s. the company expects other companies to follow its lead. the fda is considering a proposal that would require calorie counts on menus. they're getting ready to have their pants sued off. >> help me out here. >> like cigarettes. >> mcdonald's does something that educates americans, i'm dead serious, on calories, how to take care of themselves, and you attack mcdonald's. >> thank you very much.
>> their first vegetarian restaurant. did you hear about that? >> where in certain parts of the world? >> i'm not sure but i'm sure you'll find them. >> i'm telling you, mcdonald's dpai -- >> i think it's in india. >> as far as leaders go, you look at the people and look at the guy who's been leading mcdonald's over the past five years, he really has saved -- he really has saved this franchise from decline. >> what's his name? mcrib? mr. mcrib? ceo mcrib? >> fries that literally contribute to the obesity, and the drinks and the mcribs and the big mac. >> the fries, i don't care what they cause, i want them. >> i want all mcrib mcdonald's. >> jim skinner is the ceo of mcdonald's? >> thank you, jim. >> okay. it's don thompson. we've had him on the show. you look at what they've done, seriously, they have completely
rebranded mcdonald's over the past five years. >> it's now a healthy place to go. >> i'm not saying that. >> there are alternatives at least. if you want to go to mcdonald's, you can get a salad. >> with your mcrib. >> i've never met anyone who ordered the salad. >> that's where i run. >> they do exist. >> to go with your mcrib. >> i love america. >> you all are not this stupid, right? >> obviously everybody else hates america, so i'm going to turn it over now to willie. >> i would. >> a little funny as if people who are going to mcdonald's -- >> are going to be reading that. >> counting calories. >> you know what? >> it's really just paperwork. >> you guys want to apologize for america. go ahead. this apology tour continues, willie. >> change the way we eat in this country at some point. >> you're making me tired. can we sleep, willie? wake up, willie! willie, wake up! >> jim vandehai is here.
>> big mac freak. >> jim, how you doing, man? >> doing well. how are you? >> we've been talking about mitt romney, tough week. first critiques over his campaign from people in his own party, from conservatives, and then this yesterday, the back-and-forth over the situation in libya. how bad is the damage here if there is some? >> it's been a terrible week, arguably the worst as a candidate certainly as a general election candidate. a lot of people on the right are saying he's getting a raw deal. a lot of people in the romney campaign feel like the media is out to get him. but what's different about this week is it's not the media, it's republicans day in and day out going on the record to openly critique him. think about monday. monday was "the wall street journal," "the weekly standard," trent lott, many many republican voices saying he doesn't have an agenda. tuesday, rush limbaugh, sean hannity, laura ingram saying if he can't win in this election, republicans should disband as a party. then on wednesday, let's say
romney was right, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. his reaction was appropriate and that politically it will play well. look at the backlash that's coming from republicans, not just democrats, republicans on capitol hill who think he did the wrong thing. peggy noonan, you just showed a clip from her, peter king. there's been a lot of people who have come out that said he shouldn't have said what he did and how he said it. you have three straight days of republican critiquing him which speaks very fundamentally to the issue that he has, is that republicans don't like him that much. so they're ready to pounce on him the minute that he doesn't do what they think he should do to beat barack obama. >> jim, does the romney campaign feel like this is just beltway banter from some members of congress but also from pundits, or do they feel like they have a real problem here this week? >> i think they're clear-eyed that they have a real issue here and that they're at a point -- not a tipping point but certainly a turning point in the election where they have republicans now openly talking about whether or not he can beat barack obama. going into the conventions, everybody thought it was a coin
toss. and they know that that's important. they need to keep enthusiasm up. they need to keep fund-raising rolling. and they need to get some momentum. so they're looking for an opportunity to get momentum. the truth is, what happened the last couple days with what we saw happen in israel, certainly with the killings that we saw in libya, it would have given him a nice backdrop to give a big speech today to outline his fundamental differences with barack obama on the middle east, what's happening with israel, what's happening in egypt. and he might do that, but he didn't do that. instead he sort of ended up having a distraction to what should have been, you know, whatever, do what you're supposed to do, which is an appropriate response in a terrible moment and then have the presidential debate. >> so joe, something is wrong with this campaign. and you had a gut instinct about this on saturday that started with a tweet and then has evolved. >> it started with a tweet and then, of course -- >> the column. >> -- republican spring. >> but this was before all this. this was before -- >> no, it was saturday. and the huffington post picked
up. i was just saying that the campaign's doomed if they don't start standing for something. the next day, that was saturday night. the next day mitt romney goes on "meet the press," and he accepts parts of obamacare. >> and then says nothing. >> and then the next day. >> on other things. >> he backtracks on that. at this point, then "the wall street journal" talks about it, laura ingram talks about it, limbaugh jumps in. then everybody's jumping in. and why? they're doing it because "the wall street journal" said on monday, this is a preexisting condition in the romney campaign. they said it. they have made the decision -- they've made the calculation, and they've told people they've made the calculation, they're not going to be specific about how they're going to transform america, how they're going to get people back to work. this is the result of that. this is not how margaret thatcher transformed england in 1979. it's not how ronald reagan transformed america in 1980. and it's not how mitt romney's going to win. if this craven calculation never
works for conservatives -- >> the gallup tracking poll now has president obama ahead by seven nationally. >> oh, my god. >> and the president is at 51% approval rating, the only time in four years other than the three or four days after he killed osama bin laden. he's at 51% approval, 50-43% on the national track. and what you have, i think, joe in all of this and this week and the points jim's making, why is it dangerous for romney? is the perception that the campaign is now in a downward spiral. if that is bipartisan way, republicans, democrats, left and right, if everybody starts to think romney is now losing decisively and every day things get worse, very quickly all of -- the only advantages he had which were in terms of money, romney fund-raising starts to take a hit. the outside groups that were going to spend so heavily on his behalf start to look at the race and think it's unwinnable. suddenly those outside groups, karl rove and others, will they keep spending money on behalf of
the campaign -- >> it's still early. >> it is. but the point is, though, it's at a very precarious point because we are headed in the direction of what looks like a downward spiral. it's still stoppable, but it's not yet. >> this started at the conventions. we were attacked by some conservative online pundits for saying that the democrats handled their convention so much better than the republicans. it's just obvious, anybody who's not an idiot that saw those conventions know the republicans bungled it even though they had much more to work with than the democrats. and then you get beyond that, and the polls show a bounce. and then conservatives deny that. >> right. >> republicans deny that. and then we stumble into this week, and there's some people still denying it. they're circling the wagons had they really need to start foc focusing on the romney campaign and say either stand up and fight for conservative principles, or you're going to lose, and we're not going to stand behind you while we go over the cliff. >> i think the worry is the mask is off and there's nothing
there. willie, what's next? >> jim, thanks so much. next, a little sports. yankees fighting for sole possession of first place with a relentless baltimore orioles squad. highlights next. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. i just finished a bowl of your new light chicken pot pie soup and it's so rich and creamy... is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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look at that beautiful live picture at 6:41. the sun coming up over new york city. time for a little sports. the tightest race, the a.l. east, orioles/yankees typed at the top of the standings just a couple of months after the yankees had a double-digit division lead. richard. >> boo hoo. >> here's the game in baltimore. orioles and rays. one-run lead in the third. francisco ties it with a double. rich thompson on second. evan longoria at the plate. watch this. longoria hits a little tapper. watch the pump fake. >> oh, my goodness! >> manny machado fakes the throw to first, catches thompson rounding third, gets into a rundown. that would have been the go-ahead run. it's a great play in the middle of a pennant race.
tied at 2-2. the 20-year-old rookie just called up making that play. bottom of the ninth, runner on second. nate mclouth ends it with a walkoff base hit. orioles win 3-2, keep the pressure on the yankees who were up at funway. >> buck showalter time. >> the yankees had to win to keep pace with the orioles or fall into second. scoreless in the fourth. kurter granderson either hits a home run or strikes out. one of two home runs in the game for him. cano had a shot two batters later. 3-0 yankees there. watch this. in the middle of the game, the red sox lose dustin pedroia to childbirth. >> that explains a lot. >> bobby valentine comes out -- >> you've got red sox players having babies. this explains a lot. >> informs pedroia his wife is in labor. he runs off the field, goes to meet his wife at the hospital. no word yet on the baby. mike aviles goes down the line, rbi double. this is not what the yankees want to see on a 4-6-3 double play.
derek jeter comes up hobbling. he's been dealing with a bad knowingly all season. >> he's a tough guy, though. >> did not come back out. insists he'll be playing in their next game. >> aarp. >> still in the eighth, cody ross, tying run at the plate got a generous call. that was a low strike. or perhaps caught a little bit of the plate. bobby valentine says ah, what the hell, i'll get thrown out. he gets run. first season with the red sox, valentine, here's a record. most ejections in a season. >> that's great. love that. >> one last chance for the sox. down a run in the ninth. the yankees hold on for a 5-4 win, and they are tied with the orioles for first place in the a.l. east. orioles, day game against the rays. red sox play tonight. >> i've got to say, willie, if i thought like a boston red sox player would have to leave a game because of his pregnancy, i would have said it was ellsbury. i would have suspected it would have been jacoby ellsbury. >> i'm not sure what you mean, but i gather it's not
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to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts, more events, more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now? [ male announcer ] get more access with the citi card. [ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ] there's a broader lesson to be learned here. you know, governor romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. and as president, one of the things i've learned is you can't do that. you know, it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them. >> do you think it was irresponsible? >> i'll let the american people judge that. >> wow, that's tough. yeah. hey, welcome back to "morning joe." with us now from the must-read opinion page, former senior strategist of the mccain/palin campaign, now msnbc political analyst, steve schmidt. >> what did i just tell you?
it's really good to have you here. >> you told me not to talk anymore. >> i did. i did. you know what that means? >> be quiet and roll your eyes and attack me? come on, let's go. >> i'm going to read from your politico article if you're not careful. the problem with myth. it's interesting. >> don't read it. >> i won't. it points to the problem that mitt romney's campaign is facing. i'll let you take a stab at this question. is this campaign just immature? does it not know what it's doing, all these years later? >> well, look. i don't think that campaigns necessarily have personalities. joe talked about this earlier. >> but they know a sense of what's appropriate, don't they? >> they do and they don't. but you have the two conventions which are hugely important moments in a modern political campaign. the republican campaign judged against the democratic convention was totally deficient. so obama came out, he opened up a lead. you had the republican
conservative commentary began to go into a panic over this past weekend. i think the campaign began to react to that. and now you have a slide -- you're making mistakes under pressure. and so they're in a tough spot. >> how serious was the mistake he made yesterday, attacking barack obama based on faulty information the same day we find out that the first u.s. ambassador since 1979 is murdered overseas? >> look, i think it was a big mistake. i think it was a very serious mistake. and it was because we're at the point of the campaign now where these impressions start to harden into concrete. people are evaluating now on a daily basis who has what it takes to be the next president in a challenging time? who has the right temperament? who has the right character? and he fell short on that with that statement. >> you know, when the news was breaking and mitt romney's statement came out, the one that followed in the news that i was watching was sarah palin's. and i cringed. i cringed for the romney campaign because i thought, my god, he's now put himself in a
box with someone who has absolutely no discipline, and it just seemed like a turning point. is that too strong -- is that my world view seeping into the -- >> i think it's too strong. we're still in the middle of september, but it does bear repeating, richard haass, and it was september 15th, 2008, when john mccain stepped on it and bumbled around after lehman brothers and lost his lead and never regained it. impressions like this can stick. if mitt romney looks craven, if he looks desperate, like he's not ready for primetime, that impression can stick through the fall. >> yeah. the old political saw that people start saying paenpaying after labor day. things matter now. and also it's a reminder that ultimately we're voting not just for governor in chief but for commander in chief. so people are going to watch what is said and how it is said by the president and by governor romney. so this stuff now, it's all seen
in a different context, i think, than it was two, three months ago. >> you know, here's the part of your piece that i think really strikes out at joe. you write in politico, "how can it be that this man who turned around countless businesses, saved the 2002 olympics and ran democratic massachusetts like a pro be the head of such a disastrous campaign?" steve, i'll ask you this question, reading from joe's piece, who was responsible for bearing his moving convention video behind the bumbling bluster of clint eastwood? who told mr. romney to issue a political broadside against the commander in chief the day after a u.s. ambassador was murdered? who's doing this? if it's not the candidate himself? >> who knows? i do think in a presidential campaign, though, this all flows down from the candidate. and there's always this effort to look at campaigns and try to read the tea leaves and try to disperse accountability across it. when you look at these contests, what you see is you get the measure of who these guys are. this is a process that strips you bear. you are revealed fully naked before the american people.
they get a sense of who you are and what you're about. and i think that's what you're seeing. >> there's ultimately no hiding. yeah. >> so this is what's driving conservatives like myself and laura ingram, "the wall street journal," peggy noonan so crazy. barack obama has sunk $5 trillion -- sunk us $5 trillion deeper into debt. he's got the biggest stimulus plan ever. he's passed a couple of bailouts. he's passed a massive health care -- i mean, he has done all of these things, and yet unemployment's still over 8%. 2 out of 3 americans still believe we're going in the wrong direction. and our guy is still losing. th circumstances? it's maddening to conservatives. >> the president is and has always been for the last two years an unbeatable incumbent. and governor romney, he's been a bad candidate, and they've run a bad campaign. and yesterday, to me, put aside everything else we've talked about, you know, this is terrain
on which governor romney cannot win. foreign policy is not -- the american people, right or wrong, have decided that barack obama is a strong leader, that he's conducted foreign policy well for the country. that's why the mccain campaign all along said they wanted to keep the focus on the economy. so apart from everything else, what is governor romney doing elevating the issue of foreign policy yesterday when it takes him away from the issue on which he can win the election? it's nuts. >> and for republicans, mika, to circle the wagons when he's taking a bad situation and making it worse, they're only hurting the romney campaign by not speaking truth to power, by not trying to right the ship. they really are. you'd think they would have learned the lessons over the bush era where they kept apologizing for massive spending or reckless foreign policy. and it led to nancy pelosi being speaker of the house and barack obama being president of the united states. it's not too late to turn things around, but people need to get in mitt romney's face and tell him to right this campaign now before it's too late. all right.
steve schmidt, thank you very much. >> we need to keep steve around. can you stay around for a little bit? coming up, much more insight into the incidents in cairo and libya. we'll bring in dr. zbigniew brzezinski and david ignatius. also senator mccain joins the conversation. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] how do you define your moment? the blissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice that's also a smart choice. splenda no-calorie sweetener.
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up next, former national security adviser dr. zbigniew brzezinski. >> isn't that guy your dad? >> yes, he is. and "the washington post's" david ignatius. more "morning joe" in just a moment. hey! did you know that honey nut cheerios has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy.
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>> welcome back to "morning joe." steve schmidt is still with us, mike barnicle joins the table. in washington, former national security adviser, dr. zbigniew brzezinski, author of "strategic vision." also in washington, chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell and of "the washington post," david ignatius. the man who wrote the cover story for this week's new issue which, of course, focuses on what we're talking about today. >> dr. bezrzezinski, libya, cai and now yemen overnight blowing up. what should the white house response be this morning? >> i think the president responded the way a president should respond, being calm, determined and promising a promise that will be painful to the perpetrators. i think that's the way to do it. at the same time, there's a larger issue behind all of this. there is an issue in the region.
are we going to be sucked into two wars? one in syria, the other in iran? i think we need solid, responsib responsible intelligent leadership on this issue, and there's a domestic issue. are we going to allow hatemongers to wage a campaign in the united states designed to provoke the muslims? that is a serious issue which involves, of course, also civil rights. so there are a lot of issues to think about. >> david ignatius, a lot of concern out of washington about the fact that egyptian leadership and the muslim brotherhood in egypt remained silent for 24 to 48 hours after these attacks. is that a lingering problem as we move beyond this crisis and the streets clear? >> yes. it's crucial in this situation, as dr. brzezinski described it, that the united states have cof
confidence that local security forces will be there to protect americans and american facilities and the sort of grudging statement when he finally made one is not encouraging. i tend to look at what's going on in egypt and libya, in yemen and all of these countries as a kind of -- i call it a fog of revolution. you have people in gradually trying to get traction. you have morsi, president in egypt, and his attempts to work with the west to get the egyptian economy going are upsetting to more radical muslims. i think that's the background to this whole story, and i think it's going to continue. dr. brzezinski remembers better than anyone what happened in 1979 when some radicals were unhappy with the slow takeoff of the iranian revolution and decided to speed things up, they'd seize the u.s. embassy in tehran. we're still suffering from that, and i think this may be a situation that's slightly
analogous. having as horrible as that has happened yet, but where radicals want to bring the u.s. into play to torch the situation and have some leverage against more moderate governing elements. >> dr. brzezinski, you obviously have an intimate knowledge of egypt. you've been dealing closely with their leaders since 1977, actually even before then. can you explain the delicate balance that's going on right now with the egyptian leadership who's having to deal with radicals on one side and the west on the other? and your impression of how morsi and the egyptian leadership has handled this crisis over the past 48 hours? >> well, they haven't handled it. i think that's the key problem. but on balance, i still retain a certain degree of confidence in morsi and in the military leadership for the two of them are working together. whether in the long run they will prevail and whether in the long run the egyptian revolution
will remain reasonable is very uncertain. and this is why we have to act in a very deliberate and clear-cut fashion. if the region plunges into more turmoil, if we get involved in two more wars directly or indirectly with iran, through the israelis or on our own, in syria because we're pushed into it, we're going to set the whole region aflame, and we're going to be devastated in terms of the consequences because it will be a long-term crisis. so we need a steady response but a very clear-cut, not fuzzing the issues. i think the united states ought to make its position clear on the war with iran. it should make its position clear on what it is prepared to do or not prepared to do regarding syria. >> and we're looking at live pictures right now coming out of cairo. mika, your father broet up a
potential war in syria and also what's happening with iran. it does bear noting this morning that there are thousands of cross-currents in the middle east, thousands of cross-currents even in egypt. and it bears noting that mohamed morsi actually went to tehran and counseled them on syria, talking about the need to pressure the assad government to step down. >> so let's reveal the cover of "time" magazine. bobby gauche, you wrote the cover story. looking at many different facets of this, the arab spring, bringing on so much hope. perhaps, though, leading to a very harsh winter ahead because it opens a lot of doors for potential trouble. >> yes, and that's what the cover story, and it's called "augusts of outrage," it looks at what might be the new normal in the middle east where these old, reliable but draconian dictatorships have been replaced by weak democratically elected governments that don't really have the kind of control over
their streets and over their people that we are used to from their predecessors. and it makes these countries very vulnerable to the hatemongers that your father referred to, the kinds of people not just in the middle east but here in this country who take advantage of the situation, who provoke, who give offense, take offense and then stoke this industry of outrage that sort of raises the temperature everywhere. and it eventually leads to endangering and taking american lives. >> and andrea mitchell in washington, this is one more reminder of how careful we have to be when we see events unfolding in the middle east. it gives us reasons, we feel, to be optimistic about an arab spring. i remember in 2005 how joyous many people in the west were about things in lebanon. hopes were dashed there. the elections in the palestinian territories led to hamas and of
course the arab spring now leading to this. it is one step forward, two steps back, it seems. >> it is so volatile. and as dr. brzezinski said, we have to be very careful about our engagements, and that's one reason why i think mitt romney lost an opportunity. if he had waited and not said anything and been more, dare we say, presidential, he could have formulated an important speech on what u.s. policy should be in the region and tried to offer some alternatives and even suggested that there has been weakness or a lack of a vision, if you will, from the administration in dealing with all of these conflicting forces. i mean, you could see that critique being formulated. that's not, of course, what he did. he took the ooeeasy way out and some say a cheap shot based on bad information. and that's what made him so vulnerable. it could be an inflection point in the campaign. one other quick point. we focused a lot in the last couple of days about the refusal or failure or nonfailure of the president to meet with bebe
netanyahu, whether it's a scheduling issue or a snub, depends on which side, but he's also not meeting with president morsi. they're saying that they have no time to meet with any of the leaders in new york at the united nations. it's a campaign year. we understand that. they don't want a big blowup right before the first debate. but it might be a missed opportunity to develop a personal relationship with some of these leaders. >> mike barnicle. >> david ignatius, i think many americans probably are under the assumption that consulates and embassies overseas are well guarded places where things are secure. but you've been around the world many, many times. you've been to embassies and consulates. could you spell out for people, for the uninitiated, how the protection at embassies and consulates, it's not as if, you know, the ambassadors at camp lejeune hiding behind the platoon of marines. it's a very difficult and dangerous situation in many
parts of the globe. >> mike, this is safer than it used to be. once upon a time, american embassies and consulates were right on the street, easily vulnerable. i can remember the destruction of the american embassy in beirut which was blown up by a car bomb that just steered in the driveway and boom, because there was really nothing to stop it. that doesn't happen much so more. the consulate in benghazi was a temporary facility. it had security, some standoff, but it was pretty limited. it's not a place where you could fight off an attacking army, and that's what they were facing. they had people with firing rpgs into the compound. in egypt, talking to embassy people last night on the phone, you had protesters climbing the walls that surround the embassy. they were screaming to the egyptian police, do something. get these people out of here. and the police are saying well, it's very dangerous. we're not sure this is the right time. finally, thank goodness, the egyptian police did crack down. but these places are vulnerable. the people who serve in them
deserve our great respect and thanks for being in sometimes free fire zones representing the united states. >> let me ask you, against the backdrop of all of this, you have the president not meeting with bebe netanyahu which, of course, causes great concern in israel and also, of course, makes one wonder whether -- whether israelis are preparing to possibly launch a military strike against iran and whether they're trying to back this administration into the corner. how does that play in this mix of this volatile mix in the middle east? >> well, the same people who are stoking up this anger on the streets in the middle east are taking what netanyahu is saying and suggesting that this president or that the united
states is more and more in israel's pocket, the expression that they use. they're ignoring the fact that the president has not risen to the debate that netanyahu has set out and that the u.s. is being cautious, but that's not how they play it. that's the problem in this new environment because thanks to the internet, satellite television, you have people out there, hatemongers on television, in the mosques who can take little scraps of information, stitch them together to form a narrative that just suits their purpose and then puts that out in the street, and then they have militias. this is organized. these are not spontaneous eruptions of anger. these are organized as a chain of events that you can -- that we write about, that leads to an american ambassador being killed. and part of that chain of events are the little incidents that take place in israel, in california where a crazy movie is made and a television host in egypt. so that's what we try to get at in this kind of story. that's the new reality in the
middle east. these are the kinds of crises, unfortunately, that we will come to again and again, and we'll sit around this table and discuss this for a long time to come until law and order is restored in these countries. >> dr. brzezinski, i asked you how the white house should be handling the situation this morning in yemen, in cairo and, of course, across the middle east. what about israel? is the president handling the situation with bibi netanyahu correctly? >> i'm not quite sure how he's handling it because i don't know what tran spired in the course of that telephone call. but i think the president has to act presidential. last time he was intimidated, i think. this time he has been provoked. i think he ought to make it very clear what the american interest is in dealing with iran, in dealing with syria and in dealing with the region. the fact of the matter is that only a healthy united states can assure in the long run the well-being of israel.
if we get dragged into two wars now, not just one, but two, we'll be paralyzed internationally for years. and the region will be in a mess. and i think the president has to be absolutely explicit on this. there's also another aspect to it. we have to be clear as to what is tolerable in the united states insofar as these crises are concerned. we have freedom of speech here. we have to protect it. but we have to draw a line between absolutely irresponsible and deliberate provocation. this movie has been shown on the public television by a fundamentalist christian pastor who has an obsession about iran and has been trying to -- about the muslims, and he's been trying to provoke them now for a couple of years. and there is an israeli movie maker who makes a movie clearly designed to touch the most sensitive almost irrational feelings of the muslims
regarding their prophet. it was designed to make him look like a pervert, like an irrational individual. it was clearly designed to provoke. this man raised $5 million to have that movie made. i mean, we are dealing here with incitement to violence at a time which is very perilous. let me just add one more point is, of course, the romney aspect. and here i have one simple suggestion because he could be the president. he ought to have someone like steve hadley, former national security adviser to president bush, or bob bzdelik, the former head of the world bank, give him strategic advice and not listen to the people whose names have appeared so often in the press and whose names were very prominent back in 2003 when the united states started its unfortunate adventures in the middle east by attacking iraq. >> david ignatius, dr. brzezinski talked about how the
president was intimidated by israel before, now he's being provo provoked. tell me strategically, do you believe that netanyahu may be provoking or trying to back the president into a corner because he believes a military strike against iran may be imminent? >> i think the prime minister is pushing president obama to set an ultimatum. the phrase "red lines" is used, but it's really an ultimatum that he wants. i think the point that the obama administration needs to make is the president has already said a red line. he has said the united states will prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. not simply because it's a threat to israel, but because it's a threat to u.s. national security interests. in other words, this is our problem, our issue, our set of red lines. and i think he's going to need
to say that one more time. netanyahu is demanding something much more immediate, a kind of trip wire that would almost force the u.s. into a quick war. it's in the united states' interests to have control of this situation better, not to be whipsawed by israel and by every statement from netanyahu, but for the president to behave like the leader of the biggest, strongest country in the world. and to do that, he has to make clear to the world where we stand. and i think probably the u.n. general assembly session, which is coming up later this month, would be a good time for such a speech. it's not that he's going to say anything new. he's going to say it emphatically to a broad group. and in that way, i think he can push netanyahu's demands, protests back a little bit, which would be good for everybody. >> steve, to my dad's point, do mitt romney's foreign policy advisers need some changes? and also, given what's happened, how does this campaign reset?
does someone need to get fired? does something need to happen? >> when you get to the place where they are in the campaign when they're behind by seven points in the gallup poll, one of the only things you can do is have a bit of a reset which means making changes whether they be real changes or cosmetic changes. i do think the trajectory of the race is such that there's going to start to be increased demands on that front. >> all right. dr. zbigniew brzezinski, thanks, dad. david ignatius, thank you as well. andrea mitchell, we'll see you at 1:00 on "andrea mitchell reports." bobby gauche, we'll be looking for your cover story, "time" magazine, "the agents of outrage." >> this is a great article. we thank you so much for coming. you know, he talks about -- i mean, in here, it sounds familiar about the outrage machine. people who push matters into anger overdrive, their goals not just outrage and anger but violence. they're enabled by the media. >> yeah. coming up, we'll talk to
senator john mccain for his take on those overseas attacks. and next, mayor michael bloomberg joins us here on the set. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. [ ow ner ] i need to expand to meet the needs of my growing business. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better. [ female announcer ] our wells fargo bankers are here to listen, offer guidance and provide you with options
welcome back to "morning joe." it's 24 past the hour. this week marks the four-year anniversary of the onset of the devastating financial crisis that included the collapse of lehman brothers back in 2008. yesterday new york city mayor michael bloomberg addressed the economic club in washington, d.c. his message -- that washington politicians are increasingly the problem, not the solution. and mayor bloomberg joins us now. welcome back to the show. >> thank you. >> good to see you. >> not only the four-year anniversary of lehman, 11th anniversary of 9/11 when everybody said that our economy was going to fall apart and new york would never be the home to anybody, any company or any person ever again. and today there's more people living here and more jobs than
ever. >> i don't think people would disagree when you say washington is part of the problem, not the solution. how do you turn that around? how do you get people to actually do things that will help move this economy forward instead of sitting there and doing nothing? >> well, that's up to each of us to call our congressmen and senators and say look, you've got to get things going. call the president. you can send him an e-mail. i'm sure you can text him. but we are sitting here, we are demanding from our local government services and hold them accountable, and we don't do that to our state governments, generally, and certainly not to our federal government. >> what's the prescription for a rebound in the economy and of course the other headlines this morning are household income rates going back to '95 levels. >> number one, businesses are not going to expand when things are uncertain. the fed is trying to do something. i'm sympathetic to bernanke, but he can't do it all himself. it's the fiscal policy that we have a problem with. there is plenty of money. interest rates are low.
corporations are flush with cash. nobody's going to go out and build, plan and hire with all that uncertainty and regulations and tax policy and how we're going to address the deficit. but then we have another longer-term problem, and that is the job market is changing. the housing bubble masked that for years because we just inflated the housing market, and that created enormous number of jobs. but once it stopped, everything came apart. the public had borrowed against their houses and had an unreasonable amount of debt. and so now you face what's really true. today it takes two people -- two breadwinners to be a middle-income family. it used to be one when i grew up. today a lot of the middle-income -- middle-class jobs have gone overseas or have been automated or require skill sets that people don't have. and that's the challenge. we've got to do something about it. >> go ahead, mike. >> you say the jobs picture is changing. i don't think anyone would disagree with you.
but doesn't part of that changesing job picture get get to the topic of education. >> yes, it does. long-term public education is the answer. keep in mind it's defunding, our university system, and we have an immigration policy that is taking the best and brightest out of our universities, sending them overseas because they can't stay here, to build the competitive universities overseas. so the one part of our education system that really is the best in the world is going away very fast. if you take a look at what we're doing here, long term it's education, but we can't wait for long term. you have to do that, but you have to do something for people right now. you have to do things that will expand our economy instead of having tariffs and immigration barriers, these are barriers, we need to get immigrants to come here and to develop. instead of worrying about a marginal tax rate, we've got to help small businesses go and create jobs. instead of defunding education,
we've got to go and fund it. instead of talking about infrastructure, we've got to make the investments but let the local levels -- the money come from the federal government but let the local levels decide what we need. because only at the local level do you really know. but if you take a look at what washington has done to us, we have the worst congestion in the air of any big country. there are the ten best and biggest ports in the world, zero in the united states. six in china. you can't get goods and services in and out, you can't do this. 15,000 miles of high-speed rail in the world, zero in america. you can go right down the list. we have walked away from our future. and states and particularly cities where all the job creation is can't do it alone. if you take a look at new york city. there are other cities that have done as well if not better than we have. we have replaced 200% of the jobs we lost during the recession. at a national level, we've only
replaced 40%. >> how? >> well, if the whole country had grown at the rate of new york, we would have had 12 million more jobs, and there would be 0 unemployment. never get there, but there would be zero if you really had that. how do you do it? we help businesses grow. if you want to start a business, we'll give you some names of some real estate agents to help you find the location. we'll give you the names of some accounting firms that will deal with small businesses, the names of banks. we'll train people for you. we'll help you write a business plan. small business is where all of the job creation is. and yet the federal government, in all fairness, it's pretty hard for them to do, but they don't deal with local things with specificity. federal government deals in broad concepts and tries to get -- make everybody happy. and so they use infrastructure to advance their political needs or their regulatory objectives. they don't do it to see where the payback and that's as good an example as you need. >> mr. mayor, before we go --
>> hi, joe. >> hi, mr. mayor. >> he says hello, too. they call it your soda ban, but it's really controlling the size of the drinks. >> it's called portion control. >> i wish it was a soda ban because it's poison. who should feed their children that? >> i've never been a big believer -- i don't think it's government's job to ban people from doing things with a handful of exceptions. >> okay. >> generally it's government's job to tell you the facts of what is bad for you and let you make your own decision. so, for example, nobody's more opposed to smoking than i am, but i don't think we should ban the sale of cigarettes. i do think we should ban them to children because they can't make an informed decision. i do think we should explain to adults what smoking does to you. and the same thing is true. obesity is going to kill more people in the world this year than starvation. >> is it linked to our economy? >> how does it relate to the economy? >> it does. >> i'll tell you a good example. today, mcdonald's announced they are putting calorie counts in all of their restaurants.
>> very responsible. >> two or three years ago, they sued us to stop doing it in new york city. okay? i rest my case. thank you. >> thank you. very much. >> you look at medicare, you look at the long-term costs on medicaid, obesity and what it causes in diabetes, heart disease. >> yes. that's why we'll win the soda portion. >> it cost the united states' taxpayer billions of dollars. >> incredible. >> mr. mayor, thank you so much. how's your golf game? >> some days good, some days bad. that's what golf's about. >> thank you, mr. mayor. still ahead, the author of the best-selling book "the big short," also "moneyball," michael lewis will take us inside his latest project for "vanity fair," shadowing the president for six months. keep it here on "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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it is 39 past the hour. a live look at the sun coming up over washington. and joining us now from capitol hill, republican senator from arizona and ranking member of the senate armed services committee, jsenator john mccain. good to have you on the show. >> thank you, mika. >> we know you spent july in libya traveling with ambassador stevens. we'd first love to hear from you about the loss of this man, america's ambassador to libya and a diplomat that you knew well. >> well, thank you, mika. of course, sean smith and two others, we mourn for them and their families. chris stevens was a unique individual. he literally came into benghazi at the very dangerous time on a cargo ship. he lived in a hotel there. his life was endangered
literally every day. as ambassador, he had these very close ties with the libyans. i was with him on election day in libya when the overwhelming majority of libyan people voted for a moderate non-islamic government. he is a genuine american hero. also, could i make this point, the last thing that chris stevens would want is for america to withdraw from libya. these people have a chance at democracy. and the fact is, there is al qaeda there. there is extremist groups. there's thousands of weapons. there's porous borders. and they're struggling, but they can have a democracy. >> when you were traveling with the ambassador, you tweeted on july 7th this. "u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens -- one of america's finest diplomats, also makes one of the best cappuccinos." moving forward now in light of this loss and in light of all the events that we've been covering over the past few days,
is there anything more that you think the administration should be doing to stabilize the situation, and what are the options moving forward? >> first of all, could i mention that there really is no ambassador's residence, so a lot of people in a residence. and chris -- we got up in the morning, and he made me a cappuccino. and he was very proud of the quality of it. just a very genuine, great guy. i think, obviously, we have to protect our american citizens that are there. we cannot rely entirely on the yemeni government. we have to understand that there is al qaeda elements and extremists that came into the country. their borders are still porous. but they are struggling with the institutions of democracy and freedom, and we should be assisting them. they've got plenty of money, by the way. but they need our assistance, and particularly in building up their own police force and army
so they can get these things under control. there are still these militias running around tripoli, benghazi, misrata and other places. it can work. they're wealthy. it's not money they need. it's the assistance we can provide technically speaking. >> joe. >> senator mccain, let me ask you about what's going on specifically in cairo. we get reports this morning that the police there were very slow to act in defending u.s. embassy personnel there as the mobs continue to gather and actually scaled the walls. of course, the muslim brotherhood has not spoken out against these heinous, cowardly attacks. and mohamed morsi who some had a good bit of hope for as the leader -- the new leader of egypt has also been very slow to condemn these attacks and stand up for the united states. what does this mean moving forward? >> it's very tough.
i simply understanding of how difficult this is with the administration, he did speak up. president morsi did finally speak up, as you know. but it is the host country's responsibility to ensure the security of our embassy. they have the military power to do that. and it was an unacceptable lapse that caused this to happen. i think we have to examine our relationship with egypt but also recognizing, joe, as you know, egypt is the heart and soul of the arab world. >> they're a critical partner, aren't they? >> yeah. >> for all these people that are suggesting we throw morsi overboard this morning, we can't do that. they're one-third of the muslim world, the arab world. and what they do, usually the rest of the arab world follows, right? >> right. they are the heart and soul of the arab world. i believe one out of every four arabs that live in that part in the middle east live in egypt. not only that, there's all the
other historical implications. look, i think we have to make sure that they know that our aid will be impacted. our entire relationship. but to just say we're going to cut off aid and walk away, we can't. we can't, joe. >> agreed. four years ago you had a lot of conservative leaders whispering in your ear, yelling at you, telling you to be much more aggressive, much more forceful to do things that you refused to do. i suspect the same thing's happening to mitt romney right now in ways that only you could understand. i did understand you're not going to be critical of the republican nominee this morning for what he did, but is it safe to say that if john mccain were in that same situation, he may have waited a week or so before bringing this tragedy into the middle of a political campaign?
>> i think what happened, joe, as i understand it was the statement was made before the tragedy in benghazi. >> right. >> and it was a weak statement. the embassy retracted it and changed it. obviously, the sequence of events focuses our attention on the tragic loss of four americans. and obviously, it did not play out as clearly as they had anticipated. >> mitt romney then doubled down, of course, yesterday morning when he did know all of the facts. even after secretary clinton made, i thought, a very good statement, you agree with me the there. in this case, would it be better to just wait a few days before having that kind of press conference? >> you know, joe, it's in the heat of the battle, you get all kinds of advice. and you get all kinds of
second-guessing. i'm not prepared to do that, but i would like to point out -- and believe it or not, i watched you yesterday, and quite often your panel of people. the fact is the united states in the middle east is scene as weak and withdrawing and we are paying the price for that unraveling whether it be for iraq, the tension in syria, the tensions with israel, afghans, afghan situation unraveling. there is a lack of leadership there, and that's what i would be talking about. and i hope that mitt romney will be looking at the big picture. >> well, senator, as you know, when mika and i are off the show, "morning joe" turns into the "young marks variety show." people like barnicle were running the ship. >> can i mention one thing about israel? >> i wanted to actually ask you about that next. the israelis, obviously, for some time have not had the
greatest confidence in president obama's ability to protect them. benjamin netanyahu asked for a meeting. that request was rebuffed. it seems to me that this relationship between our leader and israel's leader is actually splitting apart at a most critical time as we move possibly towards confrontation. what should the president do? >> i would make sure that the iranians knew and the world knew that israel and the united states have the same deadlines. they have the same criteria that we would expect to observe as far as iranian progress towards nuclear weapons is concerned. despite the sanctions, and they have been effective to a degree, there has been no evidence that the iranians have been deterred from that path. we know that the united states has greater capability than israel. netanyahu's fear is that he waits and has to depend on the
united states of america. and when the national security adviser and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff go to israel and then tell the world, well, we told them not to attack iran. what we need is israel and the united states to be totally interlocked to present a united front to tell the iranians, as the president has said, it is unacceptable for them to have a nuclear weapon. and so it's a very tense time between the united states and israel when we need togetherness more than ever before. >> more than ever before, and that certainly was curious going over to israel, then coming out and actually talking about what you told israel not to do. whether you told them not to attack privately, you come out standing shoulder to shoulder and at least make the iranians think that we are on one page. if we don't do that, that certainly makes the situation even more dangerous, doesn't it, senator? >> it does. and finally, the israelis, as the prime minister keeps saying, they cannot put their future in the hands completely of the
united states of america. and there is this difference of opinion, whether it's capability or actual production of a nuclear weapon, and that needs to be resolved. and again, when the prime minister of our dearest friend wants to meet the president of the united states, the schedule should be adjusted, i think. >> yes. >> all right. senator john mccain, thank you very much. and thank you for watching from time to time. >> thank you, senator. >> i watch you all the time. i've got to get something in my blood going in the morning. >> what do you think wakes him up? >> it's like the cappuccino with four extra shots in it. thanks very much. >> thank you, senator. you know, john heilmann, netanyahu obviously has been a friend of mitt romney's for some time. i don't know that he's so concerned about interjecting himself into the american presidential campaign as he is putting pressure on this president at a time when he has pretty high leverage time. could you dig in to that
relationship and tell us what's going on there? >> well, look. i actually disagree a little bit in the sense that i want to go back to beyond this moment. romney campaign wouldn't disagree with what i'm going to say. netanyahu meeting in israel the way he did with romney effectively endorsing romney in the election, in august when romney came to israel, you can't find a precedent for that, a foreign leader meeting with an opposition party representative leader in the middle of an election. the romney campaign went back and looked to try to find precedent for it because it was surprising to them that netanyahu was willing to go that far. in 1992, the israeli prime minister then met with bill clinton. it was the only rough precedent they could find. he came to new york and met with bill clinton privately in a hotel suite. not in front of cameras and not in the way netanyahu welcomed
romney to his home. i think netteny h anyahu wantedd a very clear message, he wants mitt romney to be president. >> does that have to do with politics or -- >> i think it is a sign how bad the relationship is with obama and netanyahu. you're basically saying i'm going to bet on the opposition party. if they lose i'll have to deal with the incumbent again in the next four years. think it is a reflection of netanyahu's assessment of the fact that his relationship with obama in his view couldn't really be worse. i think he's probably wrong about that. i think it could be worse going forward. it is a really unusual thing that's happened. whether you think it is good or bad, the degree to which netanyahu is out front for romney, you can't find a precedent like that. >> it is very dangerous. here the israelis have been hearing for years that the president of iran is saying they're going to get nuclear
weapons and wipe israel off the face of the map. and yet they don't have confidence in our president. public opinion polls have shown that for several years now. for those of us -- i think that would be everybody around this table who don't want to see the united states going to war -- seems to me these two sides -- i mean our president and netanyahu need to figure out somehow how to present a united front to iran. the only thing the iranians understand is force or the threat of force. they understand nothing else but the threat of force and harsh sanctions. >> joe, there's no doubt about that. but you also have an opposition in israel, as you have an opposition here, and it appears, to john's point, that bebe netanyahu has not just put his thumbs on the american scale, he's put his hand right on that scale to try and tilt it. this, unfortunately i think for
situation in the middle east, for the resolve that has to come with dealing with iran, is now the personal aspect of this relationship between the president of the united states and the prime minister of israel is a critical component of -- and perhaps an impediment to progress going forward. >> all right. we'll be right back. more "morning joe" in just a moment. jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire [ male announcer ] use any citi card to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts, more events, more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now? [ male announcer ] get more access with the citi card. [ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ]
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coming up, a fascinating interview with former ambassador dennis ross. also author michael lewis will be here. he followed the president for a long time. has a great article in "vanity fair" about that. also, jon meacham talking about tennessee moon shine. keep it right here on "morning joe." ♪ [ acoustic guitar: upbeat ]
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live look at new york city. back with us on set, john heilemann, richard haas, and in washington, andrea mitchell. >> we have so much to talk about this morning. breaking news overnight, we've been focused on libya. yesterday, unfortunately, we were focused on the political scrap that was taking place while we had chaotic situations across the globe. >> it was more than a scrap. >> i think it was a terrible moment. it may be a defining moment in the campaign. of course what's going on in egypt right now is equally troubling. i suspect that when the streets clear, perhaps the most troubling aftereffect of this will be what has mott been said by the muslim brotherhood or the leaders of egypt. but we have to get to that later. more breaking news now out of yemen. >> witnesses say hundreds of demonstrators have stormed the u.s. embassy in the capital of is a sanaa. the building houses diplomatic
offices. officials with yemen's government says no one was killed. the assault on the u.s. embassy in yemen comes just one day after four americans were killed at the u.s. consulate in libya and a mob of demonstrators stormed the u.s. embassy in cairo. meanwhile, the u.s. is moving two war ships into position near libya and have dispatched an elite group of 50 marines to help guard the embassy in tr tripoli. obama administration is determining if this was a planned terror strike or a spontaneous backlash from the anti-islamic video posted on youtube. four americans were killed, including 52-year-old ambassador chris stevens, widely regarded as one of the most popular and successful envoys in the region. according to first reports from senior administration officials, the american consulate came under small arms fire around 10:00 p.m. local time. a short time later the outside walls of the lightly guarded compound were breached. gunmen began attacking the main
building, setting it on fire. at this point three people remained inside the main consulate. ambassador stevens, another staff member name sean smith and a security officer. amid the chaos and heavy smoke, the three became separated. ambassador stevens was missing for 12 hours before his body was located on wednesday morning in a benghazi hospital. apparently transported there by libyan police. >> let's try to put this in perspective right now. people look at these images, if they're my age, iffer that your age, they go this looks a lot like 1979. this looks a lot like what happened when the so-called students took over the embassy in tehran. but in this case you've got the libyan government immediately condemning what's been going on. the muslim brotherhood is not involved in this, even though at this moment it doesn't seem like they're involved at all, though no condemnations by the egyptian
government. that's troubling. who exactly are storming these embassies and should americans be careful before they blame the libyan government, the egyptian government, the yemen government, for these mob scenes? >> you're right, 1979 in tehran was clearly the state was behind it. now as a strong state under the ayatollah hoe may knee, the government is not in control. you might have crests, cells of al qaeda, some off-shoot taking advantage of the situation in libya. where there's no boundary between politics and religion. >> the muslim brotherhood, again, as far as you know have
absolutely nothing to do with these attacks. >> as far as i know. but the muslim brotherhood is a wide diverse organization. >> washington is very concerned, the state department and administration very concerned. most foreign policy thinkers very concerned that right now several days into the attack the muslim brotherhood and morsi specifically in egypt have not condemned these attacks. >> well, the attacks were allowed to get to a certain place in egypt. the fact how did the mob get so far to where they got vis-a-vis the embassy is disconcerting. under international law, we expect the host government to provide full protection. marines are there, if you will, more to supplement. but the basic protection for any american embassy or consulate has to be provided by the host country. that is their obligation to us. if they can't provide that security, we have no reason to be there. >> how telling is it that president obama, who in 2009 went and gave a speech in cairo. that was sort of a defining
moment early on in his presidency on foreign policy issues, declared and our government declared that egypt is not an enemy, but it is not an ally. >> this is a new middle east. we've basically -- we all grew up in a middle east where you have these strong men. made uld they have made that that -- i know mitt romney and everybody else is saying attack, slash, burn. should we have made a statement this early that the egyptians are "not our ally"? >> well, the answer is they are both. the egyptians are -- it's a relationship that's yet to be redefined under the new leadership. what i think we want to say is you've got to prove this. we ought to have conditional relationship with these guys. we ought to not have automatic relationships with their friends where we look the other way. we ought not assume they're our foes. increasing our relationships in the middle east needs to be conditional on their behavior. we don't have a history, we
don't va phave a pattern. >> we give the egyptians billions next year -- >> we look at the way they treat minorities, the way they relate to israel, whether he they honor their treaty, we look at the way they combat terrorism. we look at what they do politically, whether they are actually moving in a democratic direction. we incentivize behaviors that we think are right and sank behaviors that we think are wrong. >> what's the impact of the president telling anybody if you get close to our embassy grounds, you scale the walls, we're going to shoot you, we will kill you. if you come in sovereign territory, you will die. >> we can start that but at the end of the day, a dozen or two dozen or three dozen marines cannot take on thousands and thousands of people. again i come back to the host government. there's one other issue. embassies have to be open for business. we do diplomacy, we do commercial relations. we can't turn our embassies into forts. either we are able to conduct normal business and have our embassies be open, or we really
don't have business being there. >> let's go back to the conversation about characterizing the relationship with egypt. here is president obama. this is an interview with telemundo discussing that. take a look. >> would you consider the current egyptian regime an ally of the united states? >> i don't think that we would consider them an ally but we don't consider them an enemy. they are a new government that is trying to find its way. they were democratically elected. i think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident, how they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty with israel. >> andrea mitchell, there were a lot of people in the united states and certainly a lot of our allies in the middle east who a year ago were very concerned about the fact that we had thrown an ally, hosni mubarak, overboard after 30
years of keeping -- helping keep the peace in the middle east. despite bad behavior internally a at home. and mika and i certainly heard from our friends, from ambassadors, from elected leaders across the middle east warning us in real time you americans are fools. a year later i guarantee you, we're going to be getting the same e-mails and same phone calls from leaders throughout middle east telling us the same thing, telling us, see, we told you so. >> well, i thought it was very interesting that the president said in the telemundo interview -- the entire interview i understand is going to air tonight on their main evening newscast. it was a very interesting interview in that he said -- the question was asked, are they an ally, and he said they're not an ally, they're not an enemy. he is saying what richard haas just defined -- it is a case by case situation. he did talk to president morsi last night and president morsi promised that he would guarantee the safety of our embassy.
but it's very clear that they were slow to react, richard angel was saying, there was no response by the egyptian police and they permitted that riot to take place and to get out of control. fortunately it didn't result in anyone dying, but to your earlier question, as richard was saying, you've got a dozen or two dozen marines in any of these embassies. they're not going to be able to hold off this kind of mob. it does seem from all of the reporting and the intelligence is still very imprecise, that these were different types of incidents, that the one in cairo was a mob, that in libya, whether precipitated by the movie or just an opportunity that they took, there was a more organized attack but they are not yet ready to say that it was a terror attack and connect it to al qaeda. they're just not sure. >> okay. so amidst all this we have a presidential election under way.
15 minutes before president obama was to make a statement in the rose garden, mitt romney held a news conference in jacksonville and he doubled down on his criticism from the night before attacking the president's handling of the situation overseas. romney blasted the administration over a statement released by the u.s. embassy in cairo which condemned religious intolerance. embassy statement was released hours before the compound was raided in an effort to ease building tension over that anti-islamic video. but mitt romney accused the administration of apologizing for american principles of free speech. >> i also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in egypt, instead of condemning their actions. it's never too early for the united states government to condemn attacks on americans and to defend our values. i think it's a terrible course
for america to stand in apology for our values, that instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the united states must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. >> i have observed that there's a tendency to shoot before you aim, as i pointed out, and that as president, my obligation is to focus on security for our people, making sure that we gather all the facts, making sure that we're advancing american interests, and not having ideological arguments on a day when we are mourning the loss of outstanding folks who have served our country very well. >> and there is the key. >> right. >> on the day that we're mourning the first murder overseas of an ambassador since
1979, an awful lot of republicans i spoke to yesterday in the house, in the senate, in foreign policy circles were e-mailing me, calling me, party leaders, saying why couldn't he have waited a day, two days, five days? they thought it was extraordinarily hamfisted. and these people who have no love for barack obama were saying this is a terrible thing to do if you want republicans to win. just horribly tactically. >> even in the heat of the moment romney was getting blasted, the question is, a day later is this a flap or pivotal moment in the campaign. >> unfortunately, he got the chronology wrong. he's talking about tweets. it was unbecoming of a man who wants to be commander in chief. tom ridge, former homeland secretary, said this -- i don't
think president obama sympathizes with those who attacked us. i don't think any american does. john mccain's former chief of staff, mark salt er wrote -- ths is hardly the issue or the moment to demonstrate a greater resolve to take the fight to the president. nothing said or done by the president or anyone in the u.s. government is responsible for the violence that led to their deat deaths. jo jo john sununu said the romney camp should that have waited. our good friend peggy noonan was on fox news yesterday and this is what peggy had to say. >> i don't feel that mr. romney has been doing himself any favors, say in the past few hours perhaps since last night. sometimes when really bad things happen, hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to
go. >> you know, "the washington post" also weighed in this a piece titled, "mr. romney's rhetoric on embassy attacks discredits his campaign," and they called his approach stunning. i must say, as somebody that was very disappointed in how democrats responded at times during the bush administration, somebody that called them out for doing that, making craven political attacks at the worst possible times for our troops, i just was absolutely flabbergasted that would do what he did yesterday. after he even had the information that his initial statement was wrong. >> there's just so many things about this to say. look, we have -- people have compared this already to the lehman brothers moment from four years ago. >> it is. >> in that realm.
john mccain had a rolling four days of stupidity then from the fundamentals of the economy are strong through to suspending his campaign. and it demonstrated over the course of about a week that he was temperamentally -- to a lot of voters, temperamentally unsuited for that moment. this is so far more limited to that and i don't know it will have the same electoral effect but these are moments that kind of test the temperament and character of those who aspire to hold the office. it just was a deeply unserious response. >> when we come back, michael lewis, the best selling author of "money ball" was granted inside access to follow the commander in chief for months through the white house, on air force one, and even on the basketball court. >> this is a great article. >> find out he's a very good basketball player. find out what else he learned. also pulitzer prize win ini
author jon meacham. >> what perspective to suwannee men bring to the table? >> moonshine. here's meteorologist todd santos with a check on the forecast. todd. >> good morning. thanks so much. want to take a look this morning at a few areas we'll deal with heavier showers. there is a disturbance after through the florida straits. a frontal boundary that settled down in the area. with showers and thunderstorms in the area, you think about plenty of warm water and warm air temperatures as well. you do see a few flashes of lightning north of the coral springs area.
plan for some of those showers today. also in chicago we'll eventually get some rain in, especially this afternoon. st. louis also later on today. may actually see some of that in the way for the chicago white sox game against detroit later on this evening. kansas city getting showers in the short term. dallas as well, if you're traveling, showers and thunderstorms are just about on your doorstep. cooler temperatures are out behind the front. 63 in chicago right now. should see temperatures in about the mid 60s across good stretch of the midwest. 80s down towards dallas. west coast coming in absolutely beautiful and northeast gorgeous for another day or two. early saturday we'll start to see clouds increasing with the chance for showers for the start of your weekend. for now that's a look at your weather. more "morning joe" coming your way next. ♪
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it is 22 past the hour. welcome back to "morning joe." joining the table now -- >> a whole segment on tennessee moon shine. >> jon meacham, author of the forthcoming book "thomas jefferson --" >> when is it coming out? >> it's coming right after the election, right after america decides. then you'll take a step back and understand how it all really happened do you know how hard it is to rub a chin this long? the patches? >> wow. also with us, best selling author michael lewis.
michael's book "boomerang travels in the new third world" is now out in paper back. in the latest issue of "vanity fair," michael writes about the six months of unprecedented access he was granted to president obama in the white house. the piece reads, in part, an aspect of this job i have trouble getting comfortable with is its bizarre emotional demands. in the span of a few hours, a president will go from celebrating the super bowl champions to running meetings on how to fix the financial system to watching people on tv make up stuff about him to listening to members of congress explain why they can't support a reasonable idea simply because he, the president, is for it, to sitting down with the parents of a young soldier recently killed in action. he spends his day leaping over ravines between vastly different feelings. how does anyone become used to this? >> michael, a fascinating, fascinating piece in "vanity fair." as you were writing it, i get the sense that you began to understand a bit about anyone
who walks through the gates of the white house, overwhelming by the incoming, the incoming that keeps incoming every second of every day. >> and this -- it gets worse and worse an worse, right? i mean news speeding up, the world getting smaller, anything happens anywhere you are expected to respond to it or decide whether or not to respond to it, kind of in the moment. it is -- it is amazing how reactive a job it is. it is -- that was the first thing that kind of struck me about it. and how unnatural it is. except for people who do what you do for a living, it's not natural to have an opinion about everything. most things your response is, i have nothing actually interesting to say about that. but when you're president, you can't have nothing interesting to say about it. or if you have nothing interesting, you have to say whatever you have to say that's not interesting. >> michael, you will never make it in cable news.
>> so what was your opinion, though you don't have opinion about everything, about barack obama, a president who's a bit more aloof from at least politics, than any other recent president. he doesn't -- he just doesn't like the give and take so much that say an lbj or fdr or a kennedy or a reagan enjoyed. what was your take-away on the inside? >> there was not a single take-away. i was just really kind of describing what it felt like, the tone and energy of the place, the tone and energy of the man. there were so many dimensions to the experience, it is very hard to reduce it to a sound bite. >> did you like him? >> that's kind of impossible not to like. very warm, easy, very -- the first thing that's striking about him is how quickly he makes you forget he's president. he just -- it is a very easy -- he wants the kind of relationships he most likes are
relationships where -- that feel equal. which is hard for a president to have. so i'll give you an example. when i -- i've written about politicians before, some. met a lot of them. the first thing they always do is tell me how much they love my books. they're naturally flattering. >> by the way, can i just say -- >> your books are fantastic. >> i love your books. >> its what he they say. you can tell often they haven't read them but they're instantly establishing a kind of transaction, i'm going to flatter you, and you're going to flatter me. i just spent -- it was actually eight months moving in and out of this man's life and never once did he indicate that he even read anything i had written. said he'd seen the "money ball" movie. and he never once said how much he liked my writing or anything. so he never once gave me any idea why he was even letting me do this, even though he had in fact read books and things.
he didn't want to have that kind of relationship. he didn't want to be, i'm going to say nice things about you, and you're going to say nice things about me. it wasn't his way. and so you're right about something what you were saying before. there is -- he does have a different category in his head between -- he makes a distinction between transactional and non-transactional relationships. i think the relationships that he probably values the most and enjoys the most and kind of gets a twinkle in his eye is when you don't want anything from him and he don't want anything from you. that's so hard to have that when you're president of the united states. everybody wants -- >> i think it's almost impossible. >> that's a great way to talk about the president and what many people believe is a family, that he doesn't do transactional relationships like an lbj would. >> so let me just interrupt. i think it is even more nuanced than that. he think he creates the distinction between the
transactional and non-transactional relationship and he does do transactional relationships but he just doesn't like them as much. >> he doesn't like them as much, and he's also far less reluctant to engage in transactional relationships than past presidents. it takes a pulitzer prize winner -- >> i'm here. it is the tennessee moon shine. i'm testing it again. >> don't you think -- i mean as you move -- i find that it is the quality. it is kind of an appealing quality. >> it's refreshing. it's refreshing. it is refreshing. you like your politicians to be more real and not be as crass in human interactions as lbj. at the same time, there is a president when the president decides i'm going to work until 6:00, 6:30, then i'm going to go upstairs and unless i'm dragged downstairs kicking and screaming, i'm not going to do what bill clinton did and work the phones and talk to republicans and talk to people who hate me and try to make --
>> this is a different thing. i think he does do that. i don't think that's fair to him -- >> you were one of the few people that have had access to this president over the past 3 1/2 years that's come to that conclusion because everybody else that has access says he doesn't do it. he's admitted he doesn't like doing it. >> he doesn't like doing it but i think he does do it. i think there's plenty of things he doesn't like doing. but i brought this up with him at one point. it was interesting. his view of the current political climate is that it wouldn't be a great asset to him to be like lbj. you can't do back room deals anymore. the environment has changed and the kind of skills that lbj supposedly possessed would be much less valuable in this environment than they were then. >> for the record, lbj didn't "supposedly" possess skills. lbj possessed the skills. but it was a different time. >> it was, but it's also -- even
at the height of the new deal deals, the great society deals, the -- what happened in bush 41 -- because bush 41 ran life like a long rue union mixer. he liked people around. >> bill clinton had a fraternity party. >> you're going to have to ask somebody for a hard vote. and it may just be one. it may just be 10% of the time they'll say, okay, we'll do this. is his analysis of the political climate such that he just doesn't think he's ever going to get the 10% of the votes that he might -- that he needs at a given moment and that personal relationships would help that? >> i don't know. i don't know. i think that he thinks that at the center of his political life is this dynamic where an opposition party is against it if he's for it simply because he's for it.
>> that's it. >> and that creates a different kind of dynamic. >> that is how it started, willie. >> you write about his decision making process. it is particularly important today, as we talk about libya again, because in your piece you talk about his decision making about libya. we've seen a contrast perhaps in the last couple days. some say president obama is a cool headed decision maker where mitt romney perhaps jumped the gun with his assessment of the situation. take us through a little bit how president obama addressed libya and how he came to the conclusions he did. is there right. so this gets back to joe's point about how you're constantly just dealing with incoming. things are just thrust upon you. i wanted to get at that. i wanted to describe something that was thrust upon him and that he had had to deal with. and the you're in the white house last march. gadhafi's moving across the desert of libya promising to exterminate a city of a million people in benghazi, and what do
you do about it? the french and the british are proposing to establish a no-fly zone. the pentagon, in the first meetings on the subject with obama, gave him two options. do nothing or do what the french and british want to do and create a no-fly zone. he says, well, would that actually solve the problem? they said, well, actually, no, because he's not flying. he will still get there. may take a little longer kind of thing. and so what was interesting was how he responded to that, few things. one, he went outside the box. he said he didn't just pick one. he said that i'll come back in a couple hours with an actual option that solves the problem. he didn't tip his hand in the room to what he's going to do or what he thought he wanted to do. he made other people kind of make his case for him. going so far as to kind of put junior people along the wall to talk to cabinet secretaries about what they thought america
should do. so he didn't have to say it himself. when he finally decides that the thing to do is a third option, the pentagon comes back with, which is to come in and use american air power to destroy gadhafi on the ground, he makes the decision -- in a way this is the most interesting thing about this decision, to me. so he makes the decision. it seems to work out beautifully. i mean it's widely regarded as pretty successful decision and everybody moves on. he's sitting there when i'm talking to him about this. the way he thinks about the decision even now was that he could very easily not have made it. and that's so different from the way say my mind works. when i do something right, when i make a decision and it worked out, i tell myself a story about about how i was always going to do that because i'm so smart. right? and i would have always done that. he says, if it had been slightly
different, i could have very easily gone the other way. it was 51-49, a decision that he could have been easily sort of shouting to the rooftop see how smart i am. he was still -- >> think about presidents in our lifetime that have left, that loved their job so much, that when they left the white house they were broken. lbj, nixon, carter, ford, bush 41. >> was ford that way? >> ford? oh, my god, yes. when jimmy carter beat him. >> it was hard to be beaten. but leaving the white house -- >> well, he thought about running again in 1980. >> and bill clinton left broken hearted because he loved the job so much. but you get a sense with this president that he doesn't love the job. the job, even though it is all consuming, isn't how he defines himself in a singular way. i mean did you get a sense --
>> i think this is where the sense comes from. it's that he -- you have to think about where this guy came from. i mean ten years ago he could have had a tour of the white house and no one would have recognized him. he comes as cold to the job as really -- i can't think of anybody in new modern history. so he had a life. he had a life, he had an identity that was just apart from politics before he -- he was a late bloomer. so that creates a different kind of head space. right? he loved his life. and he has this fantasy that when it's all over, he goes back to that life. he doesn't really get -- he doesn't have a big temper but he gets annoyed and one of the things i've said that clearly annoyed him was when i said i think you're crazy if you think you're going back to any kind of normal life. your life is ruined. you're never going to walk into a room and. you're going to be surrounded by secret service.
he said -- i was asking him little details about his life. i still do you still carry a wallet? he goes i stopped. there was no point. he goes but i was looking at it the other day and saw my driver's license was expired and i got to go get it renewed at the dmv when i'm done. i said you don't actually think you're going to drive again. yeah, i'm going to drive again. so he's got this idea that there's normalcy he's going to go back to. when you have that idea, you have another place to go. >> that matches, when i interviewed michelle obama on the campaign trail, they really don't want this to change them. they really don't want to change as people, as individuals. >> too bad. >> it's impossible. >> it is completely impossible, isn't it, jon meacham, especially these days? >> oh, yeah. but the drama of almost every president in recent times has been that they feel that to whom much is given, much is expected
so that he'll find a way to serve in some broadway. i would strongly -- i would suspect that obama would look very hard at the clinton global initiative and what president carter's done. >> the idea is that he's going to go do nothing, his interactions with the world are going to return to more normal -- people are just going to treat him like another guy kind of thing. >> well, someone bear hugged him. there you go. the piece is in the new issue of "vanity fair." michael lewis. thank you very much. >> great piece in "vanity fair." make sure you go out and get it. still ahead, new video from vie row where fresh clashes are erupting between police and protesters. former ambassador dennis ross joins us from jerusalem on what is the latest wave of violence and what it means for u.s. policy in the region.
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for quite some time now. we'll be following this. joining us now from jerusalem, senior counselor at the washington institute for near east policy, former ambassador dennis ross. sir, thanks very much for being with us this morning. we understand we do have a little bit of a delay as we work to communicate but i'll start off. couple of different stories that converge, percolating at the same time. start with iran in terms of how the united states an israel, as the situation stands how to, is there a possibility for the u.s. and israel to meet in the middle in dealing with iran? >> well, i think there is because the fundamental objectives are really shared by both sides. strategically we both believe that iran cannot be permitted to have nuclear weapons. that's where there is a commitment to prevention, not to containment. the question is not a strategic question. the question is a tactical question and there are some differences here in terms of
timing and criteria that each side i think uses when it thinks about when is diplomacy exhausted, what are the triggers if diplomacy is exhausted for the use of force. i think the fact that the president and the prime minister had an hour conversation on the phone the other day is probably one indication that these differences can be overcome. i know the defense minister of israel is going to be coming to the united states shortly as well so i think these kinds of tactical differences can in fact be worked out. >> jon meacham's with us and has a question. jon? >> mr. ambassador, you know better than anyone that diplomacy often comes down to who you can trust in a conversation. and beneath the level of netanyahu to obama and what gets most of the attention, to what extent does the american diplomatic community have an open and clear channel to the
israeli community, and then both -- or at least the americans -- to the iranians. how would this conversation loop take place without running the danger that there are mixed signals? >> well, i think between the united states and israel there's no shortage of channels including at the highest levels. the reality is you had an ongoing discussion on the iranian issue at very senior levels in a very intense way for the last several years. so there isn't in fact a problem in terms of communication. as i said, there are some real differences as it relates to tactics. from an israeli standpoint, there is a concern that if diplomacy drags on too long at a time when they believe that the iranians are playing a kind of rope-a-dope when it comes to diplomacy, they fear that time would stretch to the point where israel loses its military option while they're still facing an existential threat.
there's no israel prime minister that's going to deal with the existential threat. it is a case of iran against the world. how do you reconcile those two realities is the key at least between united states, israel and also israel and the europeans as well. as it relates to iran, we have had this negotiating process which has been on again/off again using the five plus one, the permanent five members of the security council plus germany. one of the things we've seen is the iranians continue to not put anything serious on the table so there does need to be a need to communicate to the iranians not just that there is going to be a continuing price in terms of economics that they're going to pay -- and it is clear they're paying a much higher price than they've ever paid before and they're feeling it, there also needs to be a very clear sense as well that just as the president has said that his objective is prevention and not containment, just as the president has also said that
time will run out on diplomacy, i think it is important to begin to create a clearer sense of a lack of patience on our part because if in fact the iranians are going to continue to play this kind of rope-a-dope posture, they're going to be the one who pay the price. >> ambassador dennis ross, we thank you so much for being with us this morning. greatly appreciate it. >> thank you, sir. willie geist, what say you? >> we had yesterday on the set -- mike barnicle and i spoke to one of the leaders of the knesset, the deputy speaker, who called, mike, you'll agree, in no uncertain terms for war. he said diplomacy has been e haufted. iran poses an existential threat. we need the united states with us. the time is now. i think that opened a lot of people's eyes yesterday. the public way in which prime minister netanyahu is pushing or attempting to push the united states and president obama into some kind of engagement with iran. >> to a point you raised
earlier, and it will be interesting if we had more time and wasn't on a satellite delay with ambassador ross, to get to the question of who do you negotiate with in tehran? >> we don't know who is in charge. i mean we don't know. is it ahmadinejad? is it the mullahs? is it the revolutionary guard? we've asked dr. brzezinski. we could have asked dennis ross. you don't know who to negotiate with. maybe we could do what reagan did in '86 and we could send over a bible and cake, birthday cake -- >> okay. >> do you think that will work? >> we'll be right back. >> one day we will find the moderates in iran! one day! ♪
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welcome back to "morning joe." according to a new report by the census bureau, american incomes are down for the fourth year in a row. median incomes in 2011 are down 1.5% from the year before. adjusted for inflation, this means the average household now brings in less than it did in 1996. according to this data, the middle class is getting poorer. the rich are getting richer. and nobody in america will blame this on the president of the past four years in the american
media. i do wonder though, the headlines we'd be reading if there were a republican president. income for the top 5% households, those making $186,000 or more rose 5% last year. tavis smiley and dr. cornel west talk to us tomorrow about the plight of the poor in their poverty tour across america. the plight of the poor, the situation has gone from bad to worse, mika. just absolutely horrific. >> the disparity is quite clear. >> keeps widening. >> record profits for big companies, too. that uncertainty is really keeping them from doing well. as they refuse to hire. up next, what have we learned today? >> wish we had a president that could bring us together. coming up, a look at your business travelers forecast. lots of sunshine across the northeast.
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introducing a stunning work of technology -- the entirely new lexus es. and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. welcome back, kids. it is time to talk about "what we learned today." willie, we learned so much, be i don't know how we do this. >> true story, charlie crist wanted the same bear hug action. and he got it. >> charlie crist, the man who loves a good hug. >> jon? >> i learned that mcdonald's loves america's kids and they are posting calorie counts to save america. >> and what have you learned?